Wondering how to make your house smell nice...naturally? Me too!
It was raining cats and dogs last week. And we needed it. After the recent bushfires and drought it was wonderful to experience the rain. Where we live though, along with the rain comes mould and some funky smells.
It’s not just the damp that causes a smelly house - there's pets, teenagers, grimy rubbish bins and that forgotten apple slowly rotting in the bottom of a school bag. We get it all in our house. Lovely!
So what to do? How to make your house smell like roses again? Read on for some safe, natural and easy tips......
First I’d like to suggest what not to use to sweeten your home.
Don't use anything containing artificial fragrances!
Which unfortunately is just about every commercial product on the market.
Chemical fragrances can be found in sooo many things in our homes….laundry powder/liquid, dryer sheets, fabric softener, dishwashing liquid, cleaning products, air freshener sprays and plug-ins, carpet deodorisors, car deodorisers (those scented dangly things you hang from the rear view mirror), most scented candles and wax melts.
Even more worryingly, chemical fragrances are also found in almost all main stream personal care products – deodorant, soap, moisturisers, shampoo, conditioner, perfume, lip balms……
(Of course, you won't find fake fragrances in any Apple & Radish product. Only natural essential oils are used to make things smell lovely!)
So what’s so bad about artificial fragrances?
Well, they seem to smell nice but they are very very bad for us. Chemical fragrances are just that – chemicals. And not the good kind. In fact anything labelled fragrance or parfum is a blanket term for over 3000 chemicals. Many are strongly linked to, or known to cause, cancer, birth defects, asthma, migraines, neurotoxicity and skin reactions. They damage your brain, liver and kidneys and accumulate in fat tissue.
Chemical fragrances are often not regulated and sometimes not even listed on the label.
One of the best things you can do for your family, pets and home is avoid products containing fake fragrances. They are mostly toxic. The more artificially scented products you use the more you are exposed and the greater the toxic load on your system. They are particularly dangerous to babies, children and pets because of their smaller size and growing young bodies.
So what’s one to do? How to make things smell sweet if not with these dreaded chemicals?
Luckily I have lots of great ideas for you that are easy and safe and will make your home smell wonderful!
Natural Ways To Make Your Home Smell Good
1. Essential Oils
These are what you use instead of fake fragrances. Pure essence of the plant distilled in concentrated form so they have beneficial properties for your body, mind and home unlike the toxic fragrances.
You still need to be careful with essential oils because they are so highly concentrated. They should always be diluted because they can burn the skin if used directly. Some shouldn’t be used while pregnant or on pets.
I would advise caution when taking essential oils internally too. In my training as a naturopath and aromatherapist we were taught to NEVER take essential oils internally.
So do your research but they are wonderful to help keep your home and body smelling and feeling lovely.
- Put a few drops in an oil diffuser to leave a lovely fragrance in the air.
- Add a few drops to hot water and vinegar to mop your floors.
- Place a few drops of your favourites on a piece of scrap fabric and tuck in your drawers, cupboards and under your pillow. (Check out the new Apple & Radish Fragrance Pillows below for something a bit more special.)
- Have fun and try different combinations.
Here are a few essential oils to get you started.
Clove Oil: Great for removing mould and mildew. Check with your doctor if you are pregnant before using clove oil.
Orange Oil: Bright fresh and uplifting. Good to use with vinegar for general cleaning.
Lemon Oil: Antiseptic and cleansing. A few drops with water and vinegar in a spray bottle to wipe down benches and sinks will leave them fresh and clean.
Lavender Oil: A relaxing oil shown to purify the air. Great to diffuse when someone in the house has a cold or flu.
Cedarwood Oil: Has a sweet, woody aroma and blends well with other oils. Has a relaxing, soothing effect on the mind and spirit. Put some on a cotton ball to help keep moths out of your cupboards.
2. Baking Soda:
Baking soda is a natural odour absorber. Put some in an open jar in damp rooms, cupboards or the fridge. Sprinkle in smelly shoes or litter boxes. You could even add a few drops of your favourite essential oil too.
3. White Vinegar:
Very useful cleaner combined with baking soda or on its own. I use a vinegar and water spray with clove, lemon and lavender essential oils to clean our shower and bathroom. It keeps away the mould and leaves a lovely natural fragrance.
4. While Vacuuming:
Place a few drops of essential oils onto the vacuum filter. The aroma will be released as you vacuum. Same goes with your dryer.
Indoor plants can remove up to 80% of VOC’s (volatile organic compounds) emitted from carpet glues, paints and chemicals in the home. Plants vastly improve the air quality of your home and look lovely too.
6. Natural Candles and Melts:
Most commercial candles are made from paraffin, a petroleum by-product. When the candle melts, you breathe those chemicals into your lungs and bloodstream. Add fake fragrances into that mix and you have a toxic concoction that’s best avoiding altogether.
Choose candles or wax melts made from beeswax or a natural wax like soy and scented with natural essential oils, not chemical fragrances. They will probably be more expensive but so worth it for your health and wellbeing.
Simmer in a large pot of water some scented herbs, spices and citrus such as orange peels, cloves and cinnamon sticks or rosemary and lemon peels. The aroma will fill your home. Don’t do this one if you are struggling with damp or mould as the steam will only make the problem worse.
Light the Fire:
If you are lucky enough to have a wood fireplace and the weather is not too hot, go ahead and light it up. It will dry out your home and inhbit mildew growth. Also the smell of wood stoves is very comforting and homey.
Place some whole or ground coffee beans in a bowl around a beeswax tea light. As the candle burns the warmth will release the delicious aroma of fresh coffee. Even better put on a pot of fresh coffee, especially with a stovetop coffee maker.
Who doesn't love the smell of freshly baked bread or cakes? If you feel so inclined go ahead and bake up a storm and fill your home with the wholesome smells of homebaked goodies.
I hope that has given you some good ideas to keep your house smelling fresh and nice but without any nasty chemicals that can seriously mess with your health.
Do you have any other tips? Let me know your favourite way to keep things smelling sweet in your home.